¡Viva! 2024 Intern Blog

When I first saw this position advertised, I was immediately excited as it combined my two favourite interests: Spanish and cinema. I studied Spanish at university, and I have previously lived in Spain. I am also an enthusiastic cinephile and I have loved coming to HOME for several years with my family. Returning from Spain, I thought I might find it difficult to find opportunities to enjoy Spanish cinema and practise the language here in Manchester, but I was surprised and delighted to discover HOME’s ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Festival, already on its 30th edition. For me, it is amazing to have a festival on my doorstep where I can continue embracing my love for Spanish culture.

After my previous role as a BFI Film Academy Project Assistant, I was already somewhat familiar with HOME as an employer, which I have found to be a fantastic organisation to work with and very welcoming. From the beginning I felt clear on my role and responsibilities in the festival team; what particularly helped was the warm welcome by Jessie, the ¡Viva! Festival Coordinator. She explained to me in detail the ins and outs of the annual festival, which I was particularly interested in as I always wanted to work for a film festival. She was happy to answer my many questions and from November, when I started, I was already excited for the festival to start four months later.

My work covered a variety of tasks which worked well for me as I love to learn transferrable skills and try new things. I worked alongside Jessie to award locally approved age ratings for some of the films without BBFC certification, I helped proofread and edit the drafts of the brochure and I worked with different IT systems such as Excel and Word Press, all of which will help me in future jobs. I enjoyed being part of the meetings with the Marketing & Communications Team and the Kitchen & Bar Team. I felt involved in the process, and it made me realise how so many people contribute to the festival’s success. A highlight was being a guest on SomosCR, a local Spanish language radio programme, and it is an experience that I will always treasure. These opportunities would not be possible without Jessie’s enthusiasm to share and spread the festival and I learnt a lot about the importance of marketing and PR strategies.

The festival opened at the beginning of April, and it was a busy month packed with some incredible films. I really enjoyed the unique opportunity to see these films, and being able to share the experience with my friends and family. I also enjoyed meeting some of the filmmakers and being able to speak face-to-face about their work. This year to celebrate the 30th festival we had some extra special treats including live music, dance performances and a fun opening night (with sangria!). I also attended the partner venue CULTPLEX to watch the archive film El Día de la bestia which was great as I have now discovered another cinema space in Manchester. It was good to participate in delivering the Language Lab and Café Cervantes, encouraging linguists to enjoy the Spanish language through cinema and hearing about what audiences had enjoyed so far. Personally, my favourite film of the festival was the Spanish comedy Mari(dos) and I loved being in a full cinema with everyone laughing all throughout the screening.

Now that the festival is over, I can look back at April as a busy but enjoyable month. I am so happy to not only have discovered this festival but to have been a central part of its delivery it this year. I’ve loved sharing details of my involvement with others and telling them about the great selection of films and events in the festival. I look forward to going to future editions, and I have no doubt that it will continue to go from strength to strength in years to come.